Family Decision Making

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Decision making is a cognitive process leading to the selection of a course of action among alternatives. Every decision making process produces a final choice called a decision. It can be an action or an opinion. It begins when we need to do something but we do not know what. Therefore, decision-making is a reasoning process which can be rational or irrational, and can be based on explicit assumptions or tacit assumptions. (McGlone, 2000)
There are several steps in the decision-making process: Define the problem, brainstorm all possibilities or potential alternatives, select the best possible alternative, follow through and carry out the decision, evaluate the decision and adapt. (McGlone, 2000)
Every decision making process may not be produced individually, sometimes it covers more than one household like a decision making within a family, which is a complex unit consisting of individuals with different thoughts, feelings, and ideas that can make decision-making challenging. How a decision can be made in a family? McGlone (2000) proposes three different decision-making styles:
A decision may be reached by one person giving up her or his position to reduce or settle the conflict. This may be an easy way out for less vocal family members, but there is a risk of cutting off communication with those family members and increasing stress.
Sometimes families have trouble getting past the brainstorming part of the process so one person may make a decision for the whole family. The family 's reaction to this decision making style can be either positive or negative. Family members may feel angry or hurt because they have no control over the decision, or they may be relieved that a decision has finally been made.
Another style is when family members take an active role in the decision making process by each person taking a turn "stating their case." Everyone then has a say in the outcome. Families who use this style are typically more flexible and open because



References: Lee, K.C., Christina, & Beatty, E., Sharon (2002). Family structure and influence in family decision-making. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 19 (1), 24-41. Davis, H.L. Decision making within the household (1971). Journal of Consumer Research. 2, 305-312. Douglas, S. P (1999). Examining family role and authority pattern: Two methodological issues. Journal of Marriage and Family, 21 (3), 35-43. McGlone, Lisa (2000). Communicating with your family: The family decision making process. Michigan State University Extension. Robinson, Margaret (2005). Children involvement in family decision making. < http://www.jrf.org.uk/knowlwdge/findings/>

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